The revelations on Newstalk yesterday that ambulances that should be covering rural areas are being used to cover larger urban areas especially at weekends is shocking but not a surprise to those of us who have been campaigning on this issue on an ongoing basis. Local staff revealed yesterday that ambulances from Carrick on Shannon had been used to attend a call in Donegal town recently which is 70 miles away. Staff in the north Roscommon area also claimed that the ambulance service in rural areas is being sacrificed so that HIQA targets for larger urban centres can be met. This is totally unacceptable and this is a very serious situation where lives are being put at risk because of a lack of resources. I am calling today on the Minister to make a statement on this matter and to give a commitment that the proposed new ambulance base in Loughglynn be a stand alone service, properly resourced and staffed, and not dependent on any other ambulance base. One staff member said on Newstalk that the authorities were taking a chance that nothing was going to happen in places like the Boyle area while sending the available ambulances to cover larger urban areas. As a public representative I am not going to stand by and allow this dangerous situation to continue and the Miniister and the HSE need to resource this vital service properly for once and for all.
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